Clockwise around the Sinwheel

The party emerges from the portal in a short hallway, with no connecting portal behind them, simply a blank wall. It exits on an immense domed room dominated by a huge pool of glowing, boiling prismatic liquid. Around the pool is an enormous Sihedron rune, and at each point of that is a statue of a runelord, twenty-five feet tall. Each statue guards another passageway out of the room, clearly marking their domains within Runeforge. The party takes time to examine each statue, paying particular attention to the nude and… anatomically correct… statue of the enchantress Sorshen, runelord of Lust. Taeva briefly considers climbing it to rub… certain parts… for luck, but then worries that, at twenty-five-foot scale other… parts… might present a navigation hazard to a small gnome.

Given the runepool a wide berth for now, they discuss what they’re here for, deciding that their first goal should be to see if the research here leads to any weaknesses of Karzoug. With that in mind, they figure that their first destination might as well be the hall of Greed, hoping that it is where his own allies might have left their research. The heroes push past the forebodingly large statue of the lord of lucre and walk into his hallway.

The trip through the hall is like walking through molasses, with the magic clearly trying to make entry difficult for those not allied with Greed. Taeva has an easier time than the others. Eventually, they all push through and see that the hall ends in a blank wall with a door to the right. On guard for traps, Taeva quickly becomes assured this is one, and spikes the fake door closed before it can spring and crush the party against the far wall. They take a moment and open what must be a secret door, and the end of the hallway slides open to reveal… more hallway. Traveling down a wood-paneled hall scribed with the exploits of Karzoug and lit by hundreds of faintly-glowing gemstones, they see an end to the hall in a room with a fountain. However, a disturbing green mist also hangs at the end of the hallway.

After some debate, Taeva suits up as best she can and pushes through the mist. It seems to have no ill effect. Within the room, an ornate fountain splashes clear water into a pool. Frolicking in the pool are a quartet of tiny man-creatures apparently made of solidified water. These mephits briefly taunt Taeva, but she ultimately convinces them that she and her friends mean no harm to them specifically, but will likely be killing the “mean metal man” that sometimes wanders through and drives them off, killing their friends. The rest of the party pushes though shortly after: Haggor feels some kind of magic try to transform him as he enters, so Balekh disperses the gas with a wind spell before racing through with the others. The mephits, while strangely erudite and personable, have limited knowledge of the rest of the area besides that it’s a big loop that features several other fountains.

The party explores the area, coming across, as noted, several fountains filled with goldfish. Taeva talks to the goldfish, finding them about as exciting conversationalists as one would imagine. Further rooms seem to contain raw materials for magical fabrication. Finally, the group exits on a library where a mithril-skinned wizard is working on projects, apparently largely involving turning animals into metal. A monkey and other lab animals drool disinterestedly from across the room. The strange construct-wizard is initially willing to talk, at least with the other wizard present, but Balekh starts off on the wrong foot by trying to ascertain the mithral mage’s allegiance by clearly implying his own opinion of Karzoug. The wizard states his intention to begin casting defensive buffs while they confer, so the party instead attacks. After a shot from Veshenga, the mage teleports away. They search for him and eventually find him in a back room with another pool similar to the runepool in the main area, working to finish buffing. It doesn’t do him much good, as Haggor easily bounds over and grapples him, holding him still while Veshenga and Shayliss fill him full of both physical and magic missiles.

Some research later, Balekh believes that Karzoug slept through the ages by creating a massive runepool that held him in stasis between this world and some dangerous dimension called Leng. He was meant to wake much sooner, but his agents all appear to have died out or been trapped here in Runeforge. The pool in the back of the area was their attempt to create a runepool they didn’t have to share, but it was only partially successful. The party can’t figure out what it does besides make items glow, so they carefully take a sample of the water and leave, bidding farewell to the mephits. Veshenga takes with her a brand new pet lab monkey (that apparently was transformed from a beetle).

The next sin is Sloth, and the party pushes into an area that was originally a complex of lush baths and relaxation centers, but which has corroded into a swamp covered in filth, noxious gas, and small creatures (likely the source of the beetle that was transformed into Veshenga’s monkey). They debate exploring anyway, but the air quickly becomes very dangerous and they suspect that any Sloth-mages here long ago just laid down and died.

Moving on, they enter the domain of Envy, which looks like it was recently (relative to the timeline of the place) attacked by the other factions of sin, particularly bearing numerous burn-scars and other signs of Wrath upon its murals of abjurers striding the world beneath their boots. Everywhere the place is burned and collapsed. The first room they come upon bears a sparking rod in the center of the room, whose emanations of magical energy seem to be growing more pronounced. Everyone backs off to wait, except for Taeva. Waiting for the sparking to reach a crescendo, she gamely tosses in her returning dagger. A pressure wave of magical force expands with a chime throughout the room, and the dagger flops to the ground, inert, just as it was beginning its return. The party skirts the edges of the room containing the disjoining trap, finding little left in the halls of Envy besides a pool of silvery liquid in a hidden room. They take a sample of this water as well, wait for the trap to spring once more, then head out.

Fourth up is the hall of Lust, which Haggor and Veshenga are looking forward to. They easily push their way in, with the rest of the party not far behind, and enter an immense cathedral to carnal acts. Immense statues of nude figures serve as columns holding up a vaulted ceiling frescoed in vivid detail with an entire spectrum of Lust-related acts. Cages and pits surround the room, and an immense silk tent rests in the center. One of the nearby cages appears occupied, but, before they can have a closer look, bat-winged figures bearing polearms take flight from around the room, swooping in and circling to get a look at the characters. As they get closer, they are clearly visible as shapely young women wearing next to nothing, their small horns and wings marking them to those in the party with knowledge of such things as alu-fiends, half-demon daughters of a succubus.

The demi-demonesses make catcalls at the party, particularly Haggor and Balekh. When the group doesn’t attack, the girls indicate that they’ll have to talk to “mother” before being allowed to explore the hall. They point the party to the tent and then swoop inside. The heroes wander into the exotic pavilion, which they note has a few blood stains that mar the otherwise pristine walls. Within, it smells of rich spices and debauchery, and they pass a quintet of slack-jawed stone giants, obviously turned into guards and sex slaves by the lust demons, before entering a room of carnal delights. Upon a throne that is as much sex toy as symbol of rule lounges a creature that clearly resembles in all important respects a beautiful woman, but whose red skin and other demonic features mark her as the succubus mother of the alu-fiends that now flank her as honor guard.

She seems quite happy to talk, and appreciative of the… possibilities… with each member of the party in turn. They glean that she doesn’t care about any of the runelord politics, having originally been a captive of the mages of Lust. She’s willing to help them in exchange for… favors… but has no personal stake in the matter. Balekh pursues what happened to the Lust mages, and Delvahine waxes poetically upon the torments she inflicted upon them, including the last survivor who they have reduced to insanity and call Mr. Mutt. At some point, Balekh’s tolerance for loving descriptions of torture and soul-draining snaps, and he launches a blast of holy light at the succubus.

Veshenga and Taeva recover from the surprise before the demonesses do, and Veshenga, with possibly the least enjoyment she’s ever had from killing anything, apologetically launches a barrage directly into the succubus’ chest, nailing her to the throne. Taeva slips forward and guts her with a flick of the wrist, and the immortal succubus has merely a moment to look betrayed before bleeding out completely and dissipating into the aether. Balekh turns himself invisible.

Two of the daughters are still blinded by the holy smite, and they swing wildly in front of them. The other two hammer their polearms into Taeva, not quite yet aware of the magnitude of what just happened. The party hears the giants raise the alarm and begin running around the corner. Haggor steps forward and disarms one of the girls, yelling at the party not to hurt them. Taeva continues to try to attack one of the alu-fiends that just struck her, but is unable to do much to the damage-resistant creature without getting a sneak attack. The rest of the party begins unleashing arrows and spells at the hallway full of giants.

While the giants surge forward and the daughters make a few half-hearted attacks, the fight is essentially over at the this point. After another few seconds, each of the alu-fiends flees the tent, swooping away, and the party makes short work of the enslaved giants. Taeva wants to go after the alu-fiends, but Haggor insists that he’ll stop her if she does. Still baffled as to exactly what just happened, the party loots the pavilion and then goes to check on Mr. Mutt, warily watching the alu-fiends circling above. The caged Thassilonian guard does, indeed, appear to be too far gone into madness to help them or be helped, barely able to make noises in any kind of language. They leave him for now, unable to free him from the force cage he’s trapped in without hurting him, hoping to find a solution later. They exit the hall of Lust and prepare to explore the three remaining sins.

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